Knowing what you want from life is the key to coping with a large lottery win

People who know what they want from life are the ones most likely to make a success of a large lottery win.

“It sounds obvious to decide what you want to do with your life, what experiences you want, what good causes you support, what friends and family you'd like to help,” says Chartered Psychologist Kim Stephenson, “but most people don't do it.

"Which is why famously, lottery winners and pools winners don't seem to stay happy. They get lots of money, buy lots of things and never stop to think about what they really value.”

Kim Stephenson, who has worked both as a psychologist and a financial adviser, says that the lottery winners who stay happy are the ones who buy what they really want. “Perhaps they increase their voluntary work because they can now do it full time and fund projects personally. They may help friends put their children through school or support charities. They have a full life and spend their time and money on activities that they value, achieving things that have meaning for them.”

There are lessons here for all of us – even if we never win the lottery – Kim Stephenson goes on to say.

 “Most of us are influenced in what we think we want by what our family friends and neighbours have, what we see in magazines that celebrities like, what it seems from the media we are expected to want. As a consequence, most of us go through life chasing material things that have no real value to us or the life we'd like to lead and that, if we get them, would be quite empty and leave us wanting more. For example, we get the car, then want the yacht, the bigger house, our own island, an art collection - all the time competing with other people to have more ‘things’ that we don't really care about.”

Kim Stephenson concludes that what makes us happy in the long run is not things but activity that we feel is important. Once we have appreciated that, the more money we have, the more opportunity we may have to achieve a useful and happy life – even if we never win the lottery.